Chris Doubek had heard the stories from 2005, the year the Randolph Cardinals came home with their first New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D football championship.
The tales he liked the best centered around the play of running back Nick Jackson.
Finally, when Doubek was a member of the Cardinals' junior varsity team a couple seasons ago, he had an opportunity to finally catch Jackson on tape.
Randolph senior tailback Chris Doubek has rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and 29 touchdowns heading into today’s Class D Far West Regional.
P-J photo by Scott Reagle
''I watched a couple highlight films on him,'' Doubek recalled Thursday afternoon, ''and he ran guys over and had the moves, too. It was incredible. I wanted to be just like him.''
Well, Chris, you're pretty darn close.
When Randolph takes the field at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester for today's 5 p.m., Class D Far West Regional against Red Jacket, it does so as the top-ranked team in the state. And Doubek, based on his magnificent senior season, is arguably the state's best Class D player.
At the very least, he's in the conversation.
Through 10 games, Doubek, unofficially, has rushed for 1,936 yards and scored 29 touchdowns, helping the defending state champions run their winning streak to 20 straight games. Ironically, those numbers are eerily similar to the ones Jackson posted nine seasons ago - 1,970 yards and 18 touchdowns - when Randolph claimed its first of three state crowns.
''It makes me feel good that I've accomplished what I wanted to do when I was a kid,'' Doubek said. ''I just want to keep going and see how far I can get.''
See KINDBERG, Page C3
His teammates, especially his offensive line of Cody Oldro, Michael Bowers, Wesley Senn, Jeff Andrews, Pat Kibbe and Bryce Morrison, are happy to help him get there.
''It doesn't happen very often,'' Cardinals head coach Brent Brown said. ''Sometimes these running backs get all the limelight, the offensive linemen get nothing and that kind of makes them a little mad, but not with this group. Anytime Chris Doubek is mentioned he (talks about the guys up front). ... He's sincere about it and so they'll block their butts off for this guy.''
Noted Oldro: ''We all respect Chris, we like to be around him and we know if Chris is scoring, we're winning games.''
The reason for that respect, Brown maintains, is because Doubek is such a hard worker.
''He's a quiet kid, but I'll tell you what, when he has something to say this group pays attention. ... He does the right thing and has done the right thing. He's extremely focused.''
An accomplished wrestler, Doubek is deceptively strong and fast, and packs a wallop when a defender gets in the way.
''His best run was against Maple Grove-Chautauqua Lake (during the regular season),'' Brown said. ''We missed a block and a kid hit him right in the hole. Hard. He just bounced out and went about 70 yards for a touchdown.
''That was kind of a nice Chris Doubek moment.''
Oldro remembers the time on defense when Doubek, a free safety, picked up an opponent and ''threw the kid over his shoulder.''
''Defensively, nobody talks about it,'' Brown said, ''but he's in the top three in tackles. He's kind of in charge of all the defensive backs. It's like having a coach out there. He's a smart kid.''
With a berth in the state semifinal at stake today, Doubek was asked what he'd be thinking about before falling asleep last night.
Among other things, he said he would pray and then ''hope for the best.''
I'm betting on No. 43.
''He's worked so hard to do what he's done,'' Brown said. ''It didn't happen by accident.''